quotes of Craig Ray; 11 quotes

"Tourism is a $6.35 billion industry and a huge part of the local economy along this coast. Katrina not only washed away the culturally historic communities here, it also washed away a big part of our livelihood, but it could not take away our spirit. I cannot believe the substantial progress Tourism - Caring for America volunteers made. With 20 percent of our economy laid off due to Katrina-related issues, we have been working day in and day out over the past six months to get our communities back on track. This kind of concentrated effort makes us feel like we moved mountains in just a few days."

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"[Craig Ray, director of the Tourism Division of the Mississippi Development Authority, said state leaders are aware of the problems faced by communities that relay on tourism dollars.] What we can do is protect the business we have now by moving conventions scheduled for the coast to other places, ... We're constantly on message that the state is open for business."

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"After the first of the year, the governor will ask for specific funds for economic development and tourism to re-market the state of Mississippi."

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"reach outside your boundaries. We want to keep a large percentage of the $2 billion in business from the Gulf Coast in this state."

"We are still assessing the vast impact of Katrina, and there appears to be good news beyond the Coast with no significant structural damage to most of our courses, ... We anticipate that those that have not already opened will do so very soon. The Gulf Coast will take longer to recover, of course, but some of the courses will re-open soon there. Meanwhile, the rest of the state continues to welcome and support visitors and misplaced residents. We've been surprised how strong the golf-and-gaming stay-and-play business has been in the four other regions of the state since Katrina and this is good for the state and its people and businesses."

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"Without a doubt we have been handed as extreme a challenge of rebuilding on the Gulf Coast as imaginable, ... But Mississippi is a great state with great people, and already we're welcoming golf, gaming and other tourists to the rest of the state. This will help the state and the state in turn will be better equipped to help the Gulf Coast and its residents affected by Katrina the more visitors we host. So the best thing we can and will do is to keep keeping on. We want visitors to come see why Mississippi is a special place and judge for themselves why Mississippi is considered a rising star of the golf-and-gaming world."

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"Of course we don't consider Katrina anything but an immense natural disaster; however, if there is something good to be said it includes that the Mississippi's other four regions and their unique, high-quality attractions are in the spotlight,"

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"If you said 'millions,' I'd guess you'd be safe, if you look at the big picture."

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"This was big for us after coming off two losses to get a win like this, ... It was nice to finally win on the road."

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"Maybe the number of travelers aren't as high, but the money spent is way up. The travelers are staying longer and spending more money. When you look at it in that sense, I'd say it's very positive."

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